When I first got the car I had problems with it cutting out when dipping the clutch. This only happened when there were high-drain electrical items switched on like the heated rear screen. The dealer diagnosed and replaced under warranty a faulty ECU which fixed the problem.
The car tends to have quite a juddery clutch when pulling away. This is only during cold weather and when it has been standing for a while, but once it has warmed up the problem goes away. The problem hasn't got any worse so I have just lived with it!
It is a nice car to drive. The seats are comfortable and the driving position and visibility is good.
The car is overall solidly built. There are a few rattles from the dash area, but nothing has fallen off and everything has a solid click or clunk to it when using the switch-gear.
Equipment levels are quite sparse compared to modern cars, but with the Si you do get electric windows and sunroof, remote locking as well as the standard power-steering, alarm/immobilisor.
The standard stereo isn't much good, but it's a standard fit so you can replace it easily with whatever you want. The standard speakers are very reasonable and I didn't bother to replace mine.
The engine is a gem! 0-60 comes up in just over 9 seconds and whilst there isn't huge pulling power lower down the rev range, once you get it spinning at 3,500 rpm it pulls like a train all the way to the red-line!
The car is economical too. If I drive sedately 40MPG is possible, which is pretty impressive for a 1.6 engine, and what's more even if you drive thrash it it still gives you in the MPG in the 30's.
Insurance is a mere group 7, which for the performance is pretty stunning really.
You can pick them up pretty cheaply now since the 200 has been replaced with the 25, and some fantastic bargains can be had. Would be Escort buyer's take note - this is a far better, reliable and classier car to spend your money on!